What’s To Credit For The 121 Corridor Office Boom?
Toyota. Liberty Mutual. State Farm. These guys might grab all the headlines regarding businesses stimulating the Collin County (and really, Texas) economy, but no one who is tapped into the North Texas office market would argue that these corporate relocations put the area on the map. Or at least, none of the panelists at Bisnow’s 121 Corridor Expansion event made such arguments. They did, however, make the case to credit a few other factors.
The history of this region is one of spec space, not build-to-suit, Meyers & Crow Co principal and co-founder Marc Myers says. Developers building spec space pioneered the North Dallas office market with a Field of Dreams mentality (you know, “If you build it, he will come.”).
Here are Hines managing director Drew Steffen, Granite Properties director of development David Cunningham, TIG director Brad McJunkin, Bright Realty president and COO Eric Stanley, Marc, and Allen EDC CEO and executive director (and our panel moderator) Dan Bowman.
Small and Midsized Businesses
After these spec buildings were established, the smaller businesses became the unsung heroes occupying offices. After the 15k SF businesses established the market, the 100k SF corporate tenants started following, Brad (here with David and Ridgemont's Damon Norman) says.
The corporate giants, local startups and California relocations alike have reverse sticker shock (or is it called sticker thrill?) at rental rates. Whether companies get $50/SF around Legacy West or $23/SF at the Granite Properties campus (pictured), North Texas has plenty of options for fair prices. With choices and prices like that, it’s no wonder Collin County snaps up the lion’s share of corporate relos. Prices here are still a true bargain, especially if you’re relocating from out of state, Marc says.
While relocating businesses will bring thousands of employees with them, they will all, in various capacities, be looking for talent already living in the area. The available workforce in North Texas begets a strong influx of businesses, Eric says. And with plenty of single and multifamily housing (Bright has 5,000 homes and nearly 7,000 multifamily units at Castle Hills [pictured] alone), the workforce is planting roots.
Collin County and the 121 Corridor specifically might have reached a tipping point of traffic and population, Drew says, but the area is—and will stay—ripe. After all, the office market around the Sam Rayburn Tollway is “like LBJ, but with better schools,” Drew (here with Ratcliff Constructors' Robert Williams) says. When pitching to investors, spelling out cost alternatives and showing off disappearing land is all it takes to show the value of this location.
Geography isn’t the 121 Corridor’s only amenity. David knows his tenants want restaurants, hotels and experience all within walking distance of the office. Coca-Cola, which recently signed at Granite Park One, prioritized amenities, as did Fannie Mae, which recently signed a 15-year lease at Granite Park Seven.